Modernizing an 80's Oak Kitchen on a Tiny Budget

Kitchen Yesterday
Previously, this kitchen (originally installed in 1988) was too monochromatic. The color of the cabinets and the floors was too similar and the small island was lost in sea of golden oak. The awful drop ceiling fluorescent light was extremely dated and the lack of cabinet hardware only emphasized the arched paneled doors which didn't feel very modern..
I stained the center island dark brown, and painted the cabinets a warm cream color (Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore) I added hardware to the cabinets and removed the old fluorescent lights which I replaced with 2 pendants and some LED cans. I tiled the backsplash with pencil tile to accentuate the generic granite countertops. I also updated the kitchen faucet and removed a few cabinet doors to break up the monotony of the cabinet doors.
The entire transformation (including the new Bosch appliance suite) came in under $3500. I did all the work myself, including the electrical, plumbing and tiling. The transformation took a little less than 3 weeks.
For more information about this project (including more photos and detailed tutorials) please visit:
#BudgetUpgrade #powerofpaint #ModernKitchen
A new ceiling semi-flush chandelier and trim to hide the drywall damage replace a fluorescent box light
A pencil tile backsplash modernized the space
A dark stained island contrasts with the light cabinets everywhere else.
Before and after
Before and after (including a new 'open shelving' cabinet that had the door removed and decorative brackets added to make it feel less like a door-less cabinet
It is a huge transformation

To see more:

  • Lori
    Lori Canada
    It's beautiful. You have more counter space than if I put my last 3 houses together. Enjoy!
  • Karla Kennedy
    Karla Kennedy Holmen, WI
    Do you have to take the doors off to do this?
  • LibrarianTellsAll
    LibrarianTellsAll Brentwood, TN
    Bravo! It's beautifu now, and good riddance to the golden oak. Taking down that awful florescent fixture made a huge difference, too. Our houses could've been build by the same builder, and I'm slooooowly working on the same projects. The last thing on
  • Bobbie Whitten
    Bobbie Whitten Gulfport, MS
  • Kelly Lee Kunzman
    Kelly Lee Kunzman Ankeny, IA
    Where did you get the lighting from? Is it still available? I have been in search of something for months. I decided to stop looking. Couldn't find anything I liked. Thank you in advance! :)
  • Salvage Sister and Mister
    Looks amazing. Curious about the ceiling where the light fixture was and what you did.
  • Salvage Sister and Mister
    Thanks I couldn't find that one. It looks amazing. What part of San Fran are you in? I use to live in Foster City.
  • Salvage Sister and Mister
    Ahh, my Uncle use to live there. I have a friend that use to live there too. Also, isn't Janine from Happy Happy Nester there too? :)
  • Sia@South 47th
    Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
    Fantabulous job & wonderful inspiration to others!! Kudos!
  • Glenda
    Glenda Tulsa, OK
    This is pretty, no doubt, but I'm not seeing anything "tiny" about the budget here...all new granite countertops, tile backsplash, new hardware, faucet, stainless steel appliances, wood floors...dude! Is that a new garden window??? About the only thing
    • TheKimSixFix
      TheKimSixFix San Francisco, CA
      Glenda Well.. it was all relative.. the entire makeover came in under $8000. The quote from a contractor to do it (including appliances, counters, backsplash, cabeints, lighting, fixtures..) was $38,000. Sooo... I would call that tiny. :)
    • Rebecca Platt
      Rebecca Platt Muskegon, MI
      Glenda I agree!!!
  • Gretchen Mercer
    Gretchen Mercer Fairfax Station, VA
    What you accomplished with the money spent is incredible! It looks like a $25,000 reno...and it is absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had your vision!
  • Rebecca Platt
    Rebecca Platt Muskegon, MI
    Very nice. But I noticed your before pics are not consistent. The floors are different. Did you put in a new floor? Also, you gave three different dollar figures for how much this cost, $3,500, $5,000, $8,000. So I'm confused.
    • TheKimSixFix
      TheKimSixFix San Francisco, CA
      Rebecca Platt The different prices all depend on what you include. $3500 was the 'remodel' without expenses the previous owner paid for. If you actually read the full post that
  • Rose
    Rose Waterford, NY
    Looks awesome!
  • Js33hoops
    Question? What color white is shown in this cabinetry?
  • Ruthstar
    I too have the 1980's cathedral style cabinet doors in golden oak that have turned orangey over the years. It is being suggested to get rid of the cabinet doors because no one has cathedral doors anymore. It is great to see what you have done to
    • TheKimSixFix
      TheKimSixFix San Francisco, CA
      Ruthstar I think the monochromatic finish really tones down the arches. For what it is worth, they still sell this style of door so they arent' completely obsolete.